Adventures in Retirement: Joining the Peace Corps

HSLS librarian, Leslie Czechowski, has announced her retirement in order to serve in the Peace Corps. She and her husband, Jan, had considered volunteering for almost thirty years. In fall 2010, they began the long application process and submitted their completed applications in January 2011. The wait began. They recently received their acceptance and entered into a new phase of the application process—the medical history. Since Jan and Leslie are in their early 60s and have many years of “health history,” they spent a great deal of time answering questionnaires, visiting doctors for follow-ups, and assuring Peace Corps medical staff that certain issues were minor.

In February 2012, they finally reached their goal, receiving an invitation to serve as Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova, in Eastern Europe. Leslie and Jan, former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Washington & Jefferson College, have been assigned to Community and Organizational Development Advisor positions.

Moldova is a small country nestled between the Ukraine and Romania near the Black Sea. It is a former Soviet satellite that gained its independence in 1991. The official language is Romanian, but Russian is still spoken in many areas. It is a lovely area with a moderate climate, much like Pittsburgh’s, but has one of the lowest Gross Domestic Products in Europe.

Jan and Leslie leave June 5th for ten weeks of training that will include language immersion, education and training for their jobs, and education about the society into which they will be entering. Following that, they will serve two years in Moldova, probably living in a small community.

They are very excited about this new opportunity and challenge and will start a blog to let friends and family know about their Peace Corps adventures.

For more information, please direct your browser to the Peace Corps.

~ Leslie Czechowski